Always ready to go the extra mile, this ’97 alumnus incorporates hospitality into his radio gig.

Editor's Note

: This story is part of a series highlighting 50 intriguing alumni as part of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality’s 50th anniversary celebration.

JC Fernandez has always gone the extra mile.

Working at a hotel as a teenager, Fernandez frequently made notes of guests’ preferences and would go out of his way to surprise them. One particular couple who complained about the quality of toilet paper was delighted to find upgraded rolls upon their next check-in.

“I always tried to pick up on little things that would make their stay better the next time around. It formed a bond between us,” Fernandez says. “When I first arrived at UNLV, one of the guests actually sent me care packages.”

Who knew Fernandez’s passion for customer service would turn out to serve his future career in radio. After transferring to UNLV in 1995, the Philadelphia transplant worked as a volunteer host with the university’s radio station, KUNV. The summer after graduation, Fernandez landed his first gig in promotions at Mix 94.1, occasionally lending his talents to now co-host Mercedes Martinez of “Mercedes in the Morning.” (She's a 2013 grad with a bachelor's in communication studies.)

“I jumped at every opportunity to be on-air,” he says. “Anytime they needed help with a live segment, I was all for it. I loved doing anything that brought attention to the show.”

In 1998, Fernandez was promoted to producer, but it didn’t stop his quirky desire to go above and beyond. He once crashed the outdoor filming of The Mexican starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in hopes of getting the stars on-air; although he was chased off set by security, Fernandez ran into Roberts at a local bar later that week.

“I asked if she could call the radio show, and she said, ‘No, but I’ve heard about you,’” Fernandez says. “That was all the validation I needed. I felt so vindicated that she knew about my shenanigans.”

While Fernandez foresees a lifelong career in radio, he continues to champion the same customer service habits he picked up from his early days in hospitality.

“I got so much from the degree and education itself, but the biggest takeaway has been the relationships I’ve made with so many people,” Fernandez says. “Being a Rebel means being a part of a community and supporting one another while making lifelong connections.”

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